Idea: Reusable Automated Space Transport and Return System
I read a recent article on the Rendezvous and Escape tests of ESA's ATV, Jules Verne. This got me thinking again about how I would design a shuttle replacement system. So I opened up a vector graphics program, Scribus (which I think is actually trying to be a desktop publishing program) and started jotting down my ideas. While the tools left something to be desired, the results turned our reasonably well. The biggest problem were that the text editing in Scribus seems very broken and there wasn't any for me to spell check.
Anyway I've uploaded the resulting PDF with my ideas for the Reusable Automated Space Transport and Return System [RASTRS].
Taxes are Done!
Results: Refund of $74.37.
Once again my simple filing status means that my withholdings are close to, and just slightly more then my actual tax liability. Which is just about the way that I want it. Since I moved last year and never received my form packet from the IRS, I just downloaded the 1040ez form and instructions off the web, used Adobe Reader to fill it in and an OpenOffice.org spreadsheet to do the computations. The most time consuming single task was printing out the envelope, as the 1040ez instructions kept giving me garbage when I tried to copy the IRS address.
If I could e-file online at the IRS.gov website, or by clicking a button on the 1040ez PDF, I would have done so. But finding a provider, setting up an account, and entering the information would have taken too much effort for what it would have been worth. If the IRS really wants to get away from the manual data entry they really need to eliminate the middlemen and directly accept e-filings through their website.
AVA Annual Meeting
I also attended the AVA's annual awards and recognition banquet. A few Region III vaulters were recognized for their outstanding performance during the 2007 competition year.
Per a request from the AVA's VP of membership, I delayed my flight plans home so that I could attend a meeting Monday morning with the AVA's website developers. The AVA is very impressed with what we have been doing with the CascadeVaulters.org, VoNW.org and Region3Vaulting.com websites and would like to use them as prototypes for future development (two or three years out) of the AVA's websites.
My changed plans had me arriving back into Sea-Tac about 7:30 PM. My Alaska flight from San Jose arrived into Portland early, and I could have caught the 6:00 PM Horizon shuttle to Seattle. However I opted to wait for my scheduled (6:30PM) shuttle flight because I had checked a bag that probably wouldn't have mad the earlier flight and I preferred to wait air-side in Portland and grab some dinner then at baggage claim in Seattle where there are few services.
The 6:30 PM shuttle flight (Horizon Air 2496) actually left five minutes early and arrived at Sea-Tac a few minutes after seven. I was impressed with the speed, efficiency and level of service provided on what is essentially a shuttle service between Seattle and Portland. It was one of the best air travel experiences I've had in years.
Also my favorite airport parking service, ExtraCar, again did a nice and convenient job at a good price.
Report from the AVA Annual Meeting
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